If you are L,G,B, or T you are at higher risk for STDs. And the risk increases with factors like age, economic, and racial status. In the case of STDs, the problem is not so much an ignorance on the part of providers as it is among those infected who often do not seek medical care. This is because (a) the majority of STDs do not produce any symptoms or signs, and (b) there is a stigma associated with STDs and the discomfort with discussing intimate aspects of life, especially those related to sex.
Cervical cancer caused by HPV, liver cancer caused by hepatitis B, and infertility from chlamydia or gonorrhea produce symptoms that are so mild they are disregarded, so there may be a long interval between acquisition of the STD and recognition of a symptom or health problem. Early testing, in such situations, is critical. If you have been exposed or even suspect you might have been exposed, you need to check with your physician and bes tested.
The results of not getting tested are not worth the embarassment you may feel. (And, frankly, if a professional acts in a way that causes embarassment, he or she should be reported.) An aware medical professional will take a sexual history, will properly address sexual orientation and gender identity concerns, and counsel you (or refer you to community-based organizations). We know about the risk of STDs and the methods for reducing or preventing high-risk behaviors. Your medical professional should work with you to reduce these risks.
ON THIS TOPIC
The information provided by Rainbow Access Initiative, Inc. is for educational purposes only and is not intended to render medical advice or professional services. The information should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease and is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, consult your healthcare provider.
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These materials were produced through a grant from the New York State Department of Health.
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